The Pedagogical Implication of Creative Arts Practice by Manga Comic Book Readers in Japan

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Kinoshita, Anju 

How do you express your feelings about your favourite story? It is popular among manga comic book fans to share how much they love the manga work through their own creative works. People draw, upload YouTube videos, cosplay with hand-made costumes, or even create original stories based on their favourite manga characters. These activities are collectively called “fan art,” and the field of fan studies supplements our understanding of the research on creative practice among manga readers in Japan. While not always professional, these creators’ works are artisanal and creative, thereby suggesting a new type of informal learning (Marsick et al. 1990) based on possibility thinking (Craft, 2005). This paper suggests that manga fans’ storytelling could impact pedagogy, which in turn nurtures creativity among youths. I will introduce examples of manga fan art from pixiv (an online platform for artists), YouTube, Fandom, and social networking services, and consider how those works potentially have pedagogical impacts on manga readers. First, I will provide a brief history and definition and discuss the uniqueness of Japanese manga and public responses in Japan. Although manga can be classified as comic books, its origin is in Hokusai Katsushika, a famous Ukiyoe artist (Schodt, 1983) deeply rooted in Japanese culture. Next, employing Arts-Based Research (ABR) perspectives, I highlight three examples of manga readers’ creative art practices online. They draw and discuss “what if” questions—what some scholars call possibility thinking (Burnard et al., 2006)—leading to the practice of creative thinking skills. Lastly, I consider the shortcomings of implementing this pedagogy in formal educational settings and propose research questions for the future.

manga, graphic novels, fan fiction, possibility thinking
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CERJ, Faculty of Education, University of Cambridge
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